Rachel Held Evans, R.I.P.


“When I left church at age 29, full of doubt and disillusionment,” she wrote in that piece, “I wasn’t looking for a better-produced Christianity. I was looking for a truer Christianity, a more authentic Christianity.”

Elizabeth Dias and Sam Roberts, Rachel Held Evans, Voice of the Wandering Evangelical, Dies at 37.

When I paid attention to her, which wasn’t often, I didn’t agree with Rachel Held Evans on much. I was much more a cynic than a fan. But that quote seems to be in the right ballpark (with the caveat that by “church” she meant standard-issue Evangelicalism). Thus,

instead of throwing out God or church, Rachel demonstrated a robust Christian faith outside the bounds of evangelicalism. She showed that that world’s gatekeepers, its voracious “discernment bloggers,” don’t have the final say about one’s standing before Christ.

Katelyn Beaty, Instead of throwing out God or church, Rachel Held Evans demonstrated a robust Christian faith.

She seemed, in her short, controversial life, to illustrate Psalm 139:

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

Disillusioned by Evangelicalism, which has a lot to be disillusioned about, she did not give up Christ. Perhaps, as Teilhard de Chardin put it (in an aphorism I once had on my college apartment wall, but cannot now find), for her “… it is blessedly impossible to escape from You.”

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